“Of course, you can grow a beard!” she said.
“You have stubble all over your face! Ok, maybe not ALL over your face. But at least your cheeks, chin and upper lip. You know. The usual beardy places.”
It’s mid-March 2020, and the topic of conversation has fallen on my face.
“Yes, but I don’t have many follicles. It won’t be a very thick beard.” I retort.
“What are you on about? There aren’t any obvious patches. You can definitely grow a full beard. Just give it a go. In fact, now’s the best time to try. Because you don’t have to see anyone for a very long time. Who knows how long this lockdown is going to last. Whilst you’re stuck at home, you might as well let it grow, let it grow, can’t hold it back any more…”
“Easy there, Elsa. Ok. I’ll give it a go. I shall grow… A beard!”
Fast forward four months.
Lockdown has been eased.
And so have my apprehensions about my ability to grow adequate facial hair.
It pains me to say it. But she was right.
And it’s not the first time.
Which pains me even more.
But there’s a lesson in this. Beyond the obvious humility.
So brace yourself for a beard metaphor like no other you have ever experienced before.
You Too Can Grow a Beard!
Yes. You can!
A metaphorical beard.
Let’s suppose you have doubts about your ability to do something. To execute on some idea successfully. Perhaps you fear failure? And because you feel this way, you convince yourself that you can’t do it. Or that there are people better than you at doing it. And, therefore, it’s best not to bother trying.
Imagine your idea, your business, your plans, are a beard.
The only way you’ll ever know if you can grow one successfully is to try. And most importantly, give it time.
Nurture the thing. Trim it, here and there. Adjust it until you’re happy with the outcome. And then work to maintain it.
Just know this. There will be better beards out there. Beards that have been grown, nurtured, carefully groomed and maintained for much longer than yours. And you will experience beard envy. A lot.
That’s the old Imposter Syndrome kicking in.
Your beard will get its fair share of compliments too. Which means it must be, at the very least, half-decent.
So, there’s the validation for trying. That’s how you know you’ve been successful in your endeavour.
There will be people out there that like what you’ve done.
And just as you look up to those better beards out there. The ones that are fuller and more expertly groomed. You can be sure that there are many who look up to yours too.
The partial beards. Patchy beards. And no beards.
There’s an audience out there. Tap into it.
We’re Here. We’re Clear. We Don’t Want Any More Beards.
All metaphors aside, whatever it is you’ve been putting off, give it a go.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” (Wayne Gretzky)
Of course, you can grow… You know.